(Pictured from left to right) Dr. John Carlos, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Laila Ali and Michael Bennett honored for their activism at the A4I Awards. (Photo courtesy of the LA84 Foundation)
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Dr. John Carlos, Wyomia Tyus and others honored at Inaugural Athletes for Impact Awards

Activists, athletes, entertainers and community organizations gathered for the Inaugural Athletes for Impact (A4I) Awards. Held at LA84 Foundation headquarters just outside of Downtown Los Angeles, the luncheon commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games and celebrated athlete activists.

A4I, an athlete-led Revolve Impact initiative, identifies as an Inclusive global network of athletes committed to equity and social change.

Hall-of-fame track and field athlete, 1968 Olympic legend and activist Dr. John Carlos received the inaugural Dr. John Carlos Legacy Award. Olympic athlete Wyomia Tyus, who was the first person to ever retain an Olympic title in the 100 meters, also received the Legacy Award.

“I’ve always pushed for speaking your mind and standing up for women,” Tyus said. “People aren’t just looking at athletes as jocks, they have a mind and can see what’s wrong in the world.”

A4I Anchor Athletes Michael Bennett, Laila Ali, Ibtihaj Muhammad and others were also awarded for their activism.

Bennett, a Philadelphia Eagles defensive end and Super Bowl 48 Champion, is recognized as a leader in the fight for social change.

“Regardless of Super Bowls, Pro Bowls or NBA championships, the most important thing is to help change our communities,” he said.

Laila Ali, daughter of global athlete activist icon Muhammad Ali, is a four-time undefeated world champion in the sport of boxing. Ali is a major children and social justice advocate who firmly believes in standing up for what’s right.

“Everybody, not just athletes, needs to do their share,” Ali said. “I’m happy to be here, part of this event, because I’m always wondering, ‘what can I do?’”

Fencing Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad became the first female Muslim American athlete to earn a medal at the Olympics in the 2016 Summer Games. She was also the first Muslim American woman to wear a hijab while competing for the U.S. in Olympic play.

“So much about sport and having the opportunity to be an elite athlete has to do with having access and opportunity, but it’s not the case for everyone,” Muhammad said. “Being an A4I Athlete is to help encourage and motivate other athletes to join us in this fight.”

1968, similarly to 2018, was a time of sports and politics colliding.

“When we made a statement, we were in our 20s,” Carlos said. “It just shows right there that you don’t have to wait until your 60 or 70 years old to realize the ills of society.”

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Andre Farr, Chairman and CEO of the Black Sports Agents Association (BSAA) is a big proponent of the work organizations and foundations such as the Wasserman Foundation, LA84 Foundation and A4I do on a daily basis.

“They’re hitting straight into the right vein,” he said.

Farr has been an executive in the sports and entertainment business for 30 years.

“In order to make this country better and stronger, we have to make people uncomfortable,” Farr said. “We have to kind of mess up what’s going on so we can fix it and make it better.”